Saturday, April 17, 2004


The Buzz about DDT

For years, Westerners and environmental activists pressured developing countries to stop using the most effective malaria preventive around -- the pesticide known as DDT -- due to concerns over its harmful effects to the environment. Abandoning DDT, however, has resulted in devastation to human populations, says the New York Times.

---Each year, 300 to 500 million people contract malaria.
---Of the two million people who die each year from the disease, 90 percent are children under the age of 5, predominantly from African countries; children who survive are often brain-damaged.
---The World Health Organization estimates that countries with malaria endemics experience a decline in their economies by about 20 percent over 15 years.

Many experts agree that DDT, in spite of its falling out of favor with the Western world, is the most effective means of preventing malaria. In countries where spraying has resumed or continued, the results have been amazing, notes the NYT:

---The hospital in Mosvold (a province of South Africa) reported 2,303 cases in March 2000, before the use of DDT; by March 2003, the hospital reported only 3 cases that month.
---Latin America stopped using DDT in the 1980's only to see their malaria cases rise to over 1 million additional cases per year; only Ecuador was able to keep Malaria under control, simply because they continued using DDT.

Many humanitarian organizations are recognizing the effectiveness and the cost savings of using DDT, however, the World Bank and World Health Organization will not fund its use. Moreover, many research agencies refuse to fund studies on DDT due to the stigma associated with the chemical.

Source: Tina Rosenberg, 'What The World Needs Now is DDT," New York Times Magazine, April 11, 2004.

For NYT text (subscription required)

Bush a Piker at Manipulating Science, Compared to Clinton, Gore

The political silly season has spawned a flurry of attacks on the Bush administration for “politicizing science.” To be sure, some of the criticism is justified. It appears political for the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit over-the-counter sales of the morning-after contraceptive, for example.

But the critics seem to have become overnight converts in wanting public policy to be science-based. Not one of them was publicly censorious of the Clinton administration’s blatant and heavy-handed abuse of science. Moreover, the primary force behind the condemnation of the Bush administration, the Union of Concerned Scientists, is notorious for its anti-technology zealotry.

When political fortunes change and a new party comes into power in the executive branch, one must expect pervasive changes in the philosophy of government. This is part and parcel of the political process. However, the improper coercion and influence on governmental, science-based activities that we saw during the Clinton administration were outside the recognized rules of the game, and in some cases illegal....

Celebrate Earth Day, Positively

“This is my long-run forecast in brief,” said free-market economist Julian Simon in “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg:

“The material conditions of life will continue to get better for most people, in most countries, most of the time, indefinitely. Within a century or two, all nations and most of humanity will be at or above today’s Western living standards.

“I also speculate, however, that many people will continue to think and say that the conditions of life are getting worse.”

At no time is Simon’s perceptiveness more appropriate than during Earth Day celebrations....

Energy Bill Illusions

With Congress back from recess and energy prices soaring, politicians are beating the drums to stir up public support for the energy bill stalled in the Senate. The United States "desperately needs a coherent energy policy, and S. 2095 (the bill in question) will address many of the critical issues facing our nation," say 20 senators of both parties in a letter to Senate Majority leader Bill Frist. President Bush likewise charges, "If [lawmakers] are interested in jobs staying here at home, if they're interested in creating an environment in which we're competitive, we need an energy bill, one that encourages reliability for electricity, and one that encourages conservation and helps us become less dependent on foreign sources of energy."

This is not simply nonsense -- it's nonsense on stilts.

Why must the government establish a "coherent energy policy"? Generally, we've left decisions about energy investments to private investors. Five- or ten-year economic plans are traditionally the stuff of Russian Politburos, not American presidents. It's amazing to hear Republican politicians argue that, absent some guidance from Washington, businessmen will blindly stumble through the marketplace, unable to intelligently invest in the energy sector absent some sort of congressional blueprint. It's also insulting to one's intelligence to hear politicians claim that, absent political interference in the marketplace, consumers will not have the faintest idea how to conserve energy or even be aware of the benefits of doing so in the face of high prices....

Loggers and Environmentalists Clash -- Again

The Western United States is expected to be drought-ridden this summer, and a plan for the U.S. Forest Service to log an area previously devastated by fire may be challenged, says the New York Times.

In 2002, 120 acres of the Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon and northern California was charred by the "Biscuit fire," leaving behind burned trees that are now decaying, creating even more of a fire danger:

---Last year, a plan to salvage 29,000 acres in the Siskiyou Forest was released, and pending a public comment period, the plan is expected to be finalized.
---However, 12,000 acres of the logging would take place in Inventoried Roadless Areas (a result of President Clinton's roadless rule), which, previously protected from logging, has been cleared for salvage by a Federal District Court judge.

Environmentalists, are alarmed by the exemption of a designated area from Clinton's roadless rule, and fear that the amenable relationship between them and the Siskiyou National Forest managers may deteriorate. They are suing to halt the logging plan, and have not ruled out tree sitting and human roadblocks if they lose their court battle.

Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington argues in Science Magazine that recent science on post-fire logging indicates that salvage logging policies should be developed and carried out before major fires are allowed to happen.

Source: Matthew Preusch, "Amid a Forest's Ashes, a Debate Over Logging Profits is Burning On," New York Times, April 15, 2004, D. Lindenmayer, et. al. "Salvage Harvesting Policies After Natural Disturbance," Science Magazine, February 2004.

For NYT text (subscription required)

For Science text (subscription required)

The Rocky Road to Biotech's Success

The first Earth Day celebration, conceived by then-US Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), was held in 1970 as a “symbol of environmental responsibility and stewardship.” In the spirit of the time, it was a consciousness-raising experience organized, appropriately, at the grassroots level. Now, however, Earth Day offers little more than an opportunity for environmental alarmists to gain media attention, dispense anti-technology tirades, and pressure government regulators for more stringent regulation.

Government officials have been only too glad to oblige, often citing “public concerns” as the reason for “precautionary” regulation. The new biotechnology—also known as gene-splicing or genetic modification (GM)—offers a good example....

Dominion and Stewardship: Believers and the Environment

A welcome development of the past thirty years has been the emergence of less-utilitarian attitudes towards the environment by believers and non-believers alike. No longer do serious Christians, Jews or Muslims cite Scripture to legitimize the wanton destruction or misuse of the world that God sculpted out of nothingness.

As we mark Earth Day on April 22, however, it is appropriate that those who adhere to orthodox Christianity ensure that the framework through which Christians view the environment does not slip into the wilderness of a type of neo-pantheism. Indeed those Christians who take a particular interest in the environment ought to remain watchful of ideologies underlying much secularist environmental thought.

Though more known for his advocacy of euthanasia and infanticide, the thought of the philosopher Peter Singer continues to inspire considerable sections of the environmental movement. His promotion of “animal rights” and assertion that, in many instances, some animals are worth more than certain types of human “non-persons” contradicts the truth revealed by faith and reason. But his ideas have, in this regard, seeped into the consciousness of many secularist environmental activists....

Congress Seeks Authority to Overturn Supreme Court Decisions

Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY) has offered legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow Congress to overturn future U.S. Supreme Court decisions by a super majority vote.

"The Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act," or H.R. 3920, would give Congress permission to override certain U.S. Supreme Court rulings if two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote for it.

Lewis said he drafted this legislation to combat the activist judges who have been "legislating from the bench" in recent years....

Friday, April 16, 2004


New Energy Drilling Proposals Target Montana's Front One of America's most stunning landscapes, Montana's Rocky Mountain Front, faces a new round of natural gas drilling proposals. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced late yesterday that it had initiated the review process [Environmental Impact Statement] required for new drilling permits on several existing leases located on public lands in the Blackleaf area, right in the heart of Montana's Front. "Montanans understand that the Front is a special place, and we've worked together for generations to protect it," said Karl Rappold, a rancher from Dupuyer, Montana. Rappold is a member of the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front, an organization of ranchers, hunters, anglers, local business owners, public officials, conservationists, and other Montanans who are working to protect the Front.... U.S. Forest Service to plant over illegal trails Off-road vehicle enthusiasts who have created and enjoyed a spiderweb of trails in the Lindon foothills will soon have to find a new place to ride. The U.S. Forest Service plans to plant over about 13 miles of roads and trails created by motorized vehicles in about 330 acres of National Forest. The project includes planting native grasses and plants where the topsoil has been rubbed off; building fences; and placing large boulders in the former paths to prevent off-roaders from creating the trails again.... Fire control, goat style These fire-prevention specialists can't be blamed for eating on the job. That's because it is their job. San Diego unleashed a small herd of goats on a Tierrasanta hillside yesterday to test their ability to clear brush that can fuel fires.... Trout Protection Data Questioned: Costs But No Benefits Published In a report analyzing the economics of protecting a threatened fish in the Pacific Northwest, the Bush administration this month deleted all references to possible monetary benefits. Instead, in releasing the report on bull trout and their vast habitat in four states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made public only those parts of an analysis that detailed the costs of saving the fish. They were put at $230 million to $300 million over 10 years, adversely affecting hydropower, logging and highway construction. Gone from the published analysis, which was written for the Fish and Wildlife Service by a Missoula, Mont., consulting firm called Bioeconomics Inc., were 55 pages that detailed the benefits of protecting bull trout.... Tortoise on fed's radar The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is threatening penalties against developers for disturbing desert tortoise habitat in Pahrump Valley, Nye County Natural Resources Director Jim Marble said Tuesday, urging the adoption of a countywide habitat conservation plan. Jody Brown, deputy field supervisor for the Wildlife Service, said a meeting has been set up with Marble in Las Vegas Thursday to discuss the plan.... Earth Day Event To Highlight Bush Administration Assault On Environment, Public Health Leaders from national environmental and public health organizations will convene an April 21 Earth Day press conference to inform the American people of the Bush administration's continuing assault on virtually every safeguard that protects America's air, water, public health, wildlife, forests, and public land. Speakers will describe pending regulatory decisions affecting these issues, and their campaigns to convince the Administration to adopt pro-environment alternatives.... Proposed rule would free EPA to determine pesticide safety The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have proposed a new rule eliminating the requirement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must always consult with them when determining whether a pesticide is likely to adversely affect endangered species. The newly proposed process would allow the EPA to consult with FWS and NOAA on an as-needed basis, but would not require it to do so with each new pesticide. FWS and NOAA would monitor EPA's performance to ensure it continues to adhere to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and uses the best available science.... Former arsenal becomes wildlife oasis A chunk of the former Rocky Mountain Arsenal, once home to the most contaminated square mile in the nation, opens this weekend as a national wildlife refuge. Rolling prairie where defense workers produced deadly sarin nerve gas, mustard gas and napalm for four decades is now home to more than 300 species, from white pelicans to foxes to bald eagles.... Trespassing charge filed against wolf biologist Criminal trespassing charges have been filed against a federal wolf recovery official and another man who were found with four wolves on a private ranch. The men may have inadvertently landed their helicopter on private land Feb. 14 to place radio tracking collars on four wolves that had been tranquilized, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials have said.... Official: Irrigation season looks better Officials predict there will be enough water stored in upstream reservoirs to supply irrigation farmers served by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District until the end of August and perhaps into early September. "It looks to me like this year will be better than last year," Jack Garner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Albuquerque area manager, told about 100 people attending a meeting Thursday evening. The topic was the federal government's 2004 reservoir operating plan for the Rio Grande basin. The irrigation season starts each year on March 1.... Anti-grazing group targets Grand Teton An anti-grazing group is challenging a cattle grazing in Grand Teton National Park by arguing that it may not be not legal and creates a risk of infecting cattle with the disease, brucellosis. Western Watersheds Project questioned plans to allow the Porter-Gill family to run about 400 cow-calf pairs in Grand Teton this summer in separate letters, dated April 5, to the National Park Service and the governor. A letter to interim park Superintendent Ralph Tingey asks him to review the legality of issuing the permit.... BLM proposes drilling halt in southwest Wyoming Oil and gas drilling must be stopped on 312,000 acres in southwest Wyoming to protect underground soda ash miners from flooding, cave-ins and other disasters, the government says. After 11 years of work, the Bureau of Land Management has unveiled a proposal designed to resolve conflicts between the two industries by halting area oil and gas development until trona mining is complete.....
Company's Mad Cow Tests Blocked, USDA Fears Other Firms' Meat Would Appear Unsafe

To Creekstone Farms manager Bill Fielding, his company's idea does not seem unreasonable. In order to satisfy its very important customers in Japan -- customers the company needs to survive -- Creekstone wants to test for mad cow disease every one of the cattle it slaughters.

To do that, Creekstone has spent more than $500,000 to build the first mad cow testing lab in an American slaughterhouse, and it has hired seven chemists and biologists to operate it. The company made the investment after Fielding returned from a trip to Japan convinced that officials there would lift their ban on American beef -- imposed after an infected cow was found in Washington state last December -- only if American companies adopt the Japanese practice of testing every animal.

But there is a big obstacle in the way of Creekstone's mad cow initiative: The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not allow it.

The company has all the equipment it needs, but it does not have the kit of chemical reagents needed to run the tests. In the United States, the USDA controls the sale of those kits, and the agency ruled last week that only labs in the U.S. government's testing program can buy them....

USDA officials say that they sympathize with Creekstone and similar operations hurt by the bans imposed by Japan and other nations, but that agreeing to the company's request could imply there is a safety issue with American beef and usher in an era of expensive testing that has no scientific justification.

The issue is not the effectiveness of the testing itself, as Creekstone would be working under the auspices of an academic lab that the USDA has approved for mad cow testing. Rather, the agency objects to the very idea of testing every animal, including younger ones.

Following the advice of an international panel of mad cow experts, USDA officials say, the agency has put together an expanded plan to test as many as 250,000 animals over the next 18 months -- a national effort to determine whether mad cow disease is spreading through the American herd....

Thursday, April 15, 2004


Group claims Forest Service conflict in judging Biscuit fire salvage appeals An environmental group has petitioned the government to change the rules for deciding appeals of the Biscuit fire salvage logging plan, arguing that the U.S. Forest Service has a conflict of interest because it stands to gain millions of dollars from selling burned timber. Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, based in Eugene, formally asked Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to change the rules so that administrative appeals of timber sales are heard by an administrative law judge rather than the regional forester. Because the proceeds from salvage sales go directly to a salvage trust fund controlled by the Forest Service, rather than to the U.S. Treasury, the agency has an inherent conflict of interest, said Andy Stahl, director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics.... Court weighs challenge to government worker tracking The court heard arguments in an appeal by former U.S. Forest Service worker Tamera Meredith, convicted of two arson counts involving forest fires set in 1998 in the Umpqua National Forest. Authorities said Meredith, a fire prevention technician, set fires so she could earn overtime fighting them. Investigators put an electronic tracking device on her Forest Service truck, and she was seen setting one fire by people in a surveillance plane who tracked the vehicle. Meredith is challenging her convictions on grounds that secretly tracking her amounted to a warrantless search that violated her protection against unreasonable searches under the state constitution.... An interview with Bush's point person on species and parks Craig Manson is the man President Bush selected to protect America's critters. And like many top dogs in this administration, he's not exactly considered a good friend of the environmental community. As assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks, Manson implements the Endangered Species Act, determines the direction of the National Park System and the Fish and Wildlife Service, and oversees some 30,000 employees.... Family Gas Empire vs. Governor on a Mesa Out West Ever since the wildcatting days of the 1920's, the Yates family has left its mark on the oil patch of southeastern New Mexico. The headquarters of Yates Petroleum, a futuristic building with a glittering skyway that juts out in the otherwise hardscrabble town of Artesia, stands as a gleaming symbol of its might. Yet while the family is one of New Mexico's wealthiest, and the state's largest contributor to state and federal political campaigns, that has not stopped Gov. Bill Richardson from clashing with it over plans to drill for natural gas. Their fight involves a pristine area of desert grasslands and cattle ranches known as Otero Mesa, which stretches northeast from the Hueco Mountains in Texas to the Guadalupe Mountains in southern New Mexico.... Thousands of Rocky Mountain Drilling Permits Go Unused With the oil and gas industry clamoring for the Bureau of Land Management to speed up the processing and issuance of drilling permits, The Wilderness Society today revealed that more than 6,000 drilling permits have not been used over the past decade. Haefele and Dr. Pete Morton co-authored The Wilderness Society report entitled "Drilling in the Rockies? Not so Fast!" Their research found that as much as 60 percent of the leases currently held by the oil and gas industry are not in production. That amounts to 23 million acres throughout the Rocky Mountain West, and 31 million acres nationally, that are leased but not being used.... One-fourth of permitted wells not being drilled, figures show Roughly a fourth of oil and gas wells with permits approved by the Bureau of Land Management have not been drilled, despite skyrocketing oil and gas prices that have prompted Republicans in Congress to demand more access by oil companies to public lands. More than 7,000 oil and gas wells that received permits in the last 10 years have gone untouched, prompting conservationists to question why the Bush administration has been advocating opening new land to drilling and streamlining the permit process. However, Andrew Bremner, director of government affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of the Mountain States, said there is a certain amount of guesswork in oil and gas drilling. Producers seek permits for an area where they suspect there may be oil or gas, but they don't know which wells will produce until drilling starts. At a cost that can reach $1.5 million per well, permits unlikely to succeed are abandoned.... Cannon: Combine school trust lands to raise money Utah's school trust lands need to be consolidated to raise more money for Utah schools, said Utah Rep. Chris Cannon on Wednesday. Within the next two to three months, Cannon plans to introduce in Congress what he called the first of many bills that would consolidate school trust lands through land swaps with the federal government.... What will become of the Sagebrush Sea? The Owyhee’s close call with becoming a national monument spurred environmentalists, ranchers and recreationists into action. Whether for or against wilderness preservation, these groups realized they must act quickly to safeguard their interests—whether it be protecting the land or keeping it free of rules and regulations. Thus was borne the Owyhee Initiative Working Group—a consortium of ranching, environmental and recreation representatives assigned the task of coming up with an Owyhee wilderness proposal to present to Sen. Mike Crapo, who would then take it to Capitol Hill. This week, after more than two years of meetings, wrangling and negotiations, the Owyhee Initiative Working Group finally reached a compromise for a wilderness proposal and unveiled it to the public.... Sage grouse protection study to continue The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that substantial evidence exists to warrant an in-depth investigation of the greater sage grouse. Officials announced the finding Thursday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will launch a 12-month study to determine whether the greater sage grouse should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, said Sharon Rose of Fish and Wildlife's Denver office.... Column: Renewable Energy, Enviros and New Job Creation The global warming controversy took a new twist this week. Global warming handwringers are now trying to make it a "jobs" issue. "Investing in renewable energy such as solar, wind and the use of municipal and agricultural waste for fuel would produce more American jobs than a comparable investment in the fossil energy sources in place today," a new report from researchers at the University of California at Berkeley states. Probably not coincidentally, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson issued a joint recommendation this week for more renewable energy use in part to "create lasting jobs." The Berkeley researchers say that increasing renewable energy use, mostly agricultural biomass burning, could create as many as 240,000 new jobs by 2020. That's compared with only about 75,000 new jobs if the nation sticks to fossil fuels, according to the researchers. But even giving the Berkeley researchers the benefit of the doubt, renewable energy as a jobs issue is downright silly. Our recovering economy added 308,000 jobs in March alone. Who cares about a comparatively measly 240,000 jobs that only might be added over the next 16 years?.... The Great Divide Kermit the Frog was right: It’s not easy being green. And these days, it’s harder than ever. Not only are even the most levelheaded activists labeled “eco-terrorists” by seemingly moderate conservatives, but mainstream enviros—faced with the nation’s most ecologically disastrous White House ever—are growing increasingly inquisitive about the effectiveness of the modern environmental movement. And if that weren’t enough, now the Sierra Club—the United States’ most recognized environmental group, whose decorated history, dedicated membership, and dollar-rich wallet is the envy of nonprofits and even small governments everywhere—is facing a power struggle that threatens to tear the 112-year-old organization through its core.... Students, teachers organize to support environmental issues Nature, they say, abhors a vacuum. Where that vacuum consists of a lack of appreciation and support for the health of Mom Nature herself, it must seem especially repugnant. Earth Team to the rescue. This new network, designed to nurture the next generation of environmentalists, had its seed planted in 1999. That was when a group of East Bay activists tried to figure out a special way to celebrate Earth Day 2000.... Column, On Earth Day Remember: If Environmentalism Succeeds, It Will Make Human Life Impossible Earth Day approaches, and with it a grave danger faces mankind. The danger is not from acid rain, global warming, smog, or the logging of rain forests, as environmentalists would have us believe. The danger to mankind is from environmentalism. The fundamental goal of environmentalism is not clean air and clean water; rather, it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization.... Ranchers want feds to start killing wolves Proposed rules giving ranchers far more flexibility to kill problem wolves still don't go far enough, angry ranchers and landowners told federal officials here Thursday night. Although new rules under consideration would let ranchers kill any wolf spotted near livestock, several people said that wasn't enough. And several ranchers said the federal government should start killing wolves because the predators are overpopulated and constantly attacking livestock.... Speaker reflects on links affecting world The world can be divided into four basic types, a noted scholar of nature and environmentalism told an overflow crowd at the Museum of the Rockies Thursday night. The four land types are: the city, the surrounding suburbs, the "working landscape" of farms and ranches and mines and managed forests, and wilderness, where human presence is minimal. And when people argue about the environment, it's usually because of conflicts between one area and another, William Cronon said. The working landscape is butting into the wilderness, for example. Or the city and suburbs are butting into undeveloped land.... Burns open to trading Front leases Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., says he is open to the possibility of trading natural gas leases on the Rocky Mountain Front, Montana's rugged landscape embroiled in the debate about meeting the nation's energy demand. Burns made the statement when he met with representatives of the Montana Wilderness Association at his Washington, D.C., office. If Congress approved the trading of Front gas leases, leaseholders would swap their rights for federally owned leases elsewhere, not necessarily in Montana. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., has introduced measures that would direct the Interior Department to study the feasibility of lease trading.... "Land Conservation for Conservatives:" Protecting America's Great Places Prominent land protection advocates from around the United States will be featured speakers at the "Land Conservation for Conservatives" conference to be held in Albuquerque on May 22. The conference is being produced by REP America, the national grassroots organization of Republicans for environmental protection (, in cooperation with ConservAmerica, a non-partisan sister organization dedicated to building a conservative constituency for conservation ( The conference will be held in the historic La Posada de Albuquerque Hotel.... Wife of ambassador to Japan asks agriculture secretary to allow private mad cow tests Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker, wife of the U.S. ambassador to Japan, is asking the Agriculture Department to reconsider its refusal to let American meatpackers do their own tests for mad cow disease. Such testing could promote confidence in U.S. beef and help re-establish exports to countries that ban it now, Baker said in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.... Japan to Relax Requirement for U.S. Beef, Nihon Keizai Says Japan, which has insisted that the U.S. test all cattle bound for Japan for mad cow disease, will relax that requirement, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said. The government's Food Safety Commission yesterday decided to exempt cows younger than 20 months from the test, the newspaper reported, without saying where it obtained the information.... Senate report recommends special NAFTA panel deal with future cases of BSE Canada and its North American trade partners should set up a special secretariat to help ensure future cases of mad cow disease don't send the beef industry into another economic tailspin, says a report by a Senate committee. The federal government should also encourage the development of more beef slaughtering facilities in Canada through venture capital funding, the committee says.... Late Cowboy's Ex-Wife Sues Tobacco Co. The ex-wife of a rodeo cowboy who died of throat cancer has sued a chewing tobacco company, claiming that it caused his death by getting him hooked on its product. Susan Smith contends U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. targets the sport of rodeo, enticing aspiring cowboys to take up the habit the way her ex-husband did when he was 13. Kent Cooper, a 13-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo in saddle bronc riding, used Copenhagen chewing tobacco for nearly 30 years, most of which he spent on the pro rodeo circuit. The Albion resident dropped the habit about four years before he died in 2002, at age 47....

The Associated Press
April 14, 2004

USDA has no comment on request for probe of Forest Service

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official had no comment Wednesday on a request by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce for a federal investigation into U.S. Forest Service actions during a roundup of cattle grazing illegally on an allotment in the Gila National Forest.

Pearce, R-N.M., wrote Department of Agriculture Inspector General Phyllis K. Fong on March 31, saying there had been allegations of misconduct and harassment by the Forest Service and the private contractor rounding up the cattle belonging to rancher Kit Laney and his ex-wife, Sherry Farr.

"We don't comment on potential or ongoing investigations," said Mark Rey, the department's undersecretary for natural resources and environment in Washington, D.C. He said, however, "we will cooperate fully with any investigation if one is initiated."

He said he has not been contacted by the inspector general's office about Pearce's letter.

Pearce said allegations included harassment of ranchers, questionable or illegal road closures and requirement of permits for people to enter private property....

USFS releases 10 horses owned by Farr and Laney

Compiled By The Daily Press

The Forest Service announced Tuesday afternoon it has rounded up and sold 414 head of cattle from the Diamond Bar grazing allotment, netting $211,000 at an Oklahoma auction barn.

Meanwhile, 14 horses the agency said were found March 26 on federal land "near the entrance to Aspen Canyon, four or five miles from private land," have been released to their owners.

Ten of the horses, belonging to Diamond Bar ranchers Kit Laney and Sherry Farr, were released to Farr on Tuesday.

The other four including a horse owned by Catron County Sheriff Cliff Snyder, two belonging to John or Marie Lee, and one owned by Beverly and Marie Lee Farr were released to their owners April 5, according to the Forest Service.

"The return of the horses is in good faith that the owners will control their horses and not allow them to graze on national forest lands without authorization," Annette Chavez, Wilderness District ranger, said.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has weighed in on the issue.

He asked Department of Agriculture Inspector General Phyllis K. Fong to investigate an allegation that the Forest Service contractor, AFT Ranch and Trucking, rounded up the horses from private land that the wranglers did not have permission to enter.

Gila National Forest officials did not reveal where the AFT Ranch is based.

The Forest Service announced the capture of the horses last month. Gila National Forest spokeswoman Andrea Martinez repeated Tuesday that the horses were found on forest property, and said they had been there for some time.

Farr recently told the Daily Press that someone possibly one of the contract cowboys left a gate open, allowing the horses to leave deeded land. She said the trespass was unintentional.

The Forest Service on Tuesday revealed for the first time that the cattle were sold at an auction barn in Guymon, Okla.

The agency said it received $211,000 for the livestock ($121,000 for 252 cattle shipped March 24, and $90,000 for 162 animals transported April 6).

Forest Service officials have said they will use the proceeds to help pay the cost of the roundup.

Twenty to 40 head of cattle remain on the allotment, and will be impounded "within the next few months," according to the agency.

Pearce, in a March 31 letter to Fong, said there had been allegations of misconduct and harassment by the Forest Service and its contractor.

There have been numerous other complaints, including harassment of Laney relatives and other ranchers, questionable or illegal road closures, and requirement of permits for people to enter private property," Pearce wrote.

"(This) adds to the perception that a concerted effort is being made to drive law-abiding New Mexicans from their homes and livelihoods, he added.

Pearce also requested a complete accounting of the cost of the impoundment and the necessity of every item charged to the roundup.

He suggested the inspector general talk not only with Forest Service personnel, but also with Catron County commissioners, area law enforcement personnel, ranchers and business owners....

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Amid a Forest's Ashes, a Debate Over Logging Profits Is Burning For 120 days in 2002, a colossal wildfire scarred a half-million acres of Southern Oregon and Northern California, leaving behind a charred landscape that has turned into fertile soil for a conflict over how to manage the public forests. The Forest Service's plan for a large salvage logging operation on the site of wildfire, called the Biscuit fire, is reopening old wounds and threatens to undercut the shaky truce between environmentalists and the timber industry. And with another year of drought forecast across the West, forest managers are sure to be confronted again this summer with fire and its aftermath. The question posed by the Biscuit fire is whether huge wildfires call for aggressive management, like logging and replanting, or whether nature should be allowed to rebuild with limited human interference.... U.S. forest experts say future of logging is younger timber It's time to give up cutting old-growth trees and instead accelerate other public-land logging that's desperately overdue in the Northwest, top forest scientists said Tuesday. The architects of the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan said further logging of old growth probably will never happen, even though the plan called for it, and the Bush administration is pushing for it. Public sentiment, combined with environmental lawsuits and protests, has effectively put all remaining old growth off-limits already. "We've already done it," said Jack Ward Thomas, who led a team of scientists that drafted the plan adopted by the Clinton administration a decade ago. "It's just a matter of admitting it.".... Rowdy crowd disrupts talk on Highlands Shouts and cheers disrupted an overcrowded hearing at the Haggerty Center of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum Monday night as opponents of the Highlands Preservation Act turned out in force to object to the proposed legislation introduced on Monday, March 29, in Trenton. Many of the attendees waved placards printed with “Don’t Steal My Land” and “New Jersey Government wants to take your property away,” and some wore T-shirts that read: “Families Need Homes.” Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Essex, and Sen. Robert Smith, D-Middlesex, both moderators and bill sponsors, shut down the meeting after only one-half hour as dozens of attendees were asked to leave by the fire marshall and many more were turned away at the door.... Protesters demand release of Sabino lion About 30 people, including a UA employee and three UA students, rallied at Sabino Canyon yesterday afternoon to demand the release of the mountain lion captured Friday by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The protesters piled into the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Visitor Center, demanding to speak to Larry Raley, the district ranger of the Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest.... Yes: Summer spill costly, ineffective A step in the right direction. That's how we'd characterize a federal proposal to suspend the August portion of "summer spill" on four dams on the Snake and lower Columbia rivers. Currently, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) spends $77 million on summer spill during July and August to save 24 threatened fall chinook. That's more than $3 million per fish. Now, federal agencies want to suspend spill during the month of August over the next three years and implement alternatives to protect migrating salmon.... No: Don't sell out vulnerable salmon With little regard for science, public policy or law, the Bush administration, through the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), has unleashed an irresponsible proposal to all but wipe out summer spill — a critical salmon-recovery tool used to help young salmon get past deadly dams. While disappointing, the announcement comes as no surprise and merely continues BPA's 30-year-plus history of poor decision-making and fundamental policy failure, which have cost this region environmentally and financially.... Army Corps highlights efforts to save Mo. River sturgeon Backhoes are breaking into the earth along the Missouri River in an attempt to re-create inviting habitats for big, strange-looking fish that have sparked debate and lawsuits for more than a decade. With its ridged back, long tail and beady eyes, the pallid sturgeon looks like a holdover from the age of the dinosaurs. But it is now struggling to survive. Up and down the Missouri River, the Army Corps of Engineers is digging into and removing sets of dikes jutting out into its waters to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act. And by July 1, the corps plans to create 1,200 acres of new habitat for the pallid sturgeon.... Report pegs cost of species protection in billions The yearly cost of enforcing the Endangered Species Act runs into the billions of dollars, not millions as reported to Congress by government agencies, says an audit released yesterday by property rights groups. Despite the estimated $3 billion per year spent, the government has little to show for its recovery efforts, says the Property and Environment Research Center, which conducted the study for the Pacific Legal Foundation. The audit reviewed 19 federal agencies that spend "significant" amounts to comply with the act and found that salaries, operations, maintenance and services associated with enforcing the ESA are not reported to Congress....Go here(pdf) to read the report.... Block the vote Asserting that he was confronting "truly life-and-death matters," Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) announced last week that as ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works he would exercise his powers to put a hold on four high-level appointments to the U.S. EPA. It wasn't the appointments he believed posed mortal dangers -- in fact, Jeffords had just voted in favor of sending the nominations to the full Senate. Rather, the Vermont senator was taking the nominees hostage in order to exact a ransom from the EPA in the form of documents he has requested but not received over the last three years about the agency's controversial policies.... Private Lands Key To Conserving And Restoring Native Fish On the Yellowstone River and its tributaries, the native range of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Pat Byorth, a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fisheries biologist, is working with private landowners to plan and fund habitat restoration projects. A second biologist will be hired soon to work with landowners on the Big Hole River interested in preserving Arctic grayling habitat. Both positions are funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landowner Incentive Program grants. “Substantial state and federal conservation funding is available to landowners because the conservation of native fish is very dependent on habitat and a lot of that habitat is on private land,” Byorth said.... Leaked Administration Documents Show Supposedly 'Quiet' Snowmobiles Loud Enough to Damage Hearing in Yellowstone New models of four-stroke snowmobiles -- touted as "quieter" by the Bush Administration and supposedly suitable for use in the winter stillness of Yellowstone National Park -- are in fact nearly as noisy as the old two-stroke machines. The snowmobiles also are loud enough to damage hearing, according to internal Administration documents obtained, and released today, by the Coalition of Concerned National Park Service Retirees, a group of 230 retired employees and senior leaders of the National Park Service. According to a January 27, 2004, Yellowstone staff meeting report (available at, Yellowstone officials tested noise from four-stroke snowmobiles that were certified as "best available technology" and approved for use in Yellowstone under the Interior Department's controversial policy. The minutes from the January meeting at Yellowstone show the park's safety officer informing other senior staff that based on the tests of four-stroke snowmobiles: "Four-stroke snowmobiles are almost as loud as two-stroke snowmobiles for the operator.".... Trail wars: Study on damage creates stir Warm weather will soon bring a flock of hikers, mountain bikers and off-road motorcyclists back to the trails - and that will inevitably renew debate about which users should be allowed on what trails. A group fighting to preserve access to public lands for mountain bikers hopes to influence that debate this year. The Boulder-based International Mountain Bicycling Association released a study two weeks ago that claims scientific studies show mountain bikes don't cause any more damage to trails than other users, including hikers.... Judge says no to Scout lease on Fiesta isle The Boy Scouts lease of a Fiesta Island aquatics center on city-owned land is just as unconstitutional as its lease of public land in Balboa Park, a federal judge ruled yesterday. U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones Jr. said the lease of the half-acre aquatics center violates the constitutional separation of church and state because the Boy Scouts is a religious organization. The same judge ruled in August that the Boy Scouts lease of Camp Balboa, where it has its regional headquarters, was unconstitutional because the Scouts require members to profess a belief in God.... Cattle to be turned out in Grand Teton Next month cattle will be turned out on one of the last active grazing allotments on Grand Teton National Park, prompting some to worry that the move increases the risk of another brucellosis infection in the state. But the concern comes not from the ranching community, which would most directly feel the sting of a third infected herd, but from a group committed to ending public lands ranching.... Lyons hopes to add wind farms in Quay and Union counties New Mexico is on the verge of developing two new wind farms on state trust land, but their future depends on the outcome of a comprehensive energy policy that is stalled on Capitol Hill. Commissioner of Public Lands Patrick H. Lyons announced today that he is prepared to sign two lease agreements to develop wind farms on state trust land in Quay and Union counties. However, he says both projects are contingent upon the approval of alternative energy tax incentives that would accompany a comprehensive energy policy held up in Washington, D.C.... Western States Urged to Use Clean Energy Governors of Western states said Wednesday their region should be take the lead in renewable energy production to meet growing power demands and help establish a balanced energy policy for the nation. At the opening of an energy summit organized by the Western Governors' Association, leaders of Rocky Mountain states and the Canadian province of Alberta said there is a need to expand production of so-called clean power, such as electricity generated by wind, solar and biomass.... Board imposes water restrictions Denver Water adopted no-nonsense drought rules Wednesday that include two-days-per-week lawn watering, stiff surcharges for high water use, and tough fines for those who don't play by the rules. It marks the third time in three years the state's largest water utility has forced customers to sharply limit water use in order to protect supplies. The new rules take effect May 1 and will remain in place until the board decides to remove them.... White Mountain Tribe's forests called 'well managed' The White Mountain Apache Tribe's forests have been certified as "well managed," a distinction similar to the "dolphin-safe" tuna designation adopted in the 1990s to honor good fishing practices. The designation, celebrated by the tribe and endorsed by environmentalists, frustrates Bob Dyson, a forester for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, just over the fence from the 1.68 million acres certified on the Fort Apache Reservation. Dyson said he is stymied from actively managing the forest by resistance and lawsuits from the same environmentalists who praise the tactics when used on tribal land.... Calif. Urged to Ease Environmental Rules California must ease its environmental standards to prevent wildfires like those that killed dozens of people last fall, a panel said Wednesday in its final report on the devastating blazes. The panel said environmental concerns had hampered efforts to clear brush and trees surrounding housing developments in wildland areas, where fire is part of the natural cycle. That extra growth allowed the wildfires to spread, the commission said.... EPA requires smog reductions in 31 states Smog cleanups affecting about 470 counties in 31 states are being set in motion Thursday now that the government, after years of court wrangling, is deciding where and how to require compliance with tougher air quality standards. That means more vehicle inspections and maintenance, cleaner-burning gasoline, better transportation planning, and improvements at coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities.... Indians file huge land claim: Tribes eye 27 million acres in state but will settle for casino The Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma filed a claim Wednesday for 27 million acres given to the tribes in a 19th century treaty but said they would settle for 500 acres to build a casino in a symbolic return to Colorado. The petition, filed with the Department of Interior, covers northeastern Colorado and about 40 percent of the state. The land claims include water rights on the Platte and Arkansas rivers that predate those of many water users today. "The Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes are originally from what is now known as the state of Colorado," said Bill Blind, interim chairman of the Cheyenne and Arapaho business committee, during a news conference here. "In the late 1800s, we were forcibly removed from Colorado by the U.S. government and relocated here in Oklahoma.".... World's biggest cattle beast dies Big Red, who was saved on a trip to the meatworks eight years ago, weighed in at 2.8 tonnes and died in his sleep during an operation, owners Ross and Janette Campbell said. Big Red's weight had given him trouble with his hips and legs. Yesterday's operation was on his feet. It was a sad day at his home at the Owlcatraz tourist and educational park at Shannon, 33km southwest of Palmerston North.... Million Dollar Jury Award in Equitrol Lawsuit; Farnam Plans Appeal (Updated Story) A jury awarded $1,007,500 to plaintiffs who alleged in a lawsuit that Farnam's Equitrol, a feed-through fly control product, was defectively designed and caused harm to their Thoroughbred and Warmblood sport horses. Farnam countered with a press release stating that it is appealing the decision and believes that the court decision is incorrect on legal and factual grounds. The jury in the three-week trial in Santa Ana, Calif., over which U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna presided, ruled in Farnam's favor on another point, which was an allegation that the company intentionally misrepresented the product. Equitrol's active ingredient tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP, also known by the trade name Rabon; more on this later) is widely used by several companies in feed-through larvicides for cattle and horses and in fly control products for several other species.... Stetson hat factory in St. Joseph to close The Stetson hat factory in St. Joseph will close by the end of June, eliminating 110 jobs, the company announced Wednesday. Parent company Hatco Inc., based in Garland, Texas, blamed the closure on poor sales. "People are not buying hats, cowboy or otherwise, like they used to," Lilly said. "It was becoming obvious that there was reason to be concerned.".... Lawmakers seek to curtail Venezuelan bull dragging Toros coleados, a Venezuelan national sport in which bulls are dragged down repeatedly by their tails, could soon go the way of dog- and cockfighting in Florida. Lawmakers in the Florida House and Senate want to ban the sport, saying it's an expression of animal cruelty, not national pride. Loosely translated as ''bull tailing,'' the Florida version of the sport involves two mounted cowboys who chase a bull up and down an oblong arena, competing to flip the animal over as many times as possible within a period of two minutes. In the Venezuelan version, the chase lasts three minutes and involves four cowboys, flipping a bull up to five times per run. ''This is what we do every weekend. This is our baseball,'' Carlos Barrios, a judge at the Southwest Dade competition who lives in Weston, said at the time. ``It's part of the Venezuelan cowboy.''....
Full Text of Creekstone Response to USDA

TO: Undersecretary J.B. PennUnited States Department of
Agriculture Undersecretary Bill HawksUnited States Department of Agriculture Chief of Staff Dale MooreUnited States Department of Agriculture

CC: Secretary Ann Veneman Secretary of Agriculture United States
Department of Agriculture

FROM: John Stewart, C.E.O.Creekstone Farms Premium Beef Bill Fielding,
C.O.O.Creekstone Farms Premium Beef


On behalf of Creekstone Farms I want to thank you for the opportunity to have met with you in Washington, D.C. last Thursday, April 8.

We had hoped for a different outcome to the meeting, however, and are very disappointed with USDA's decision not to allow Creekstone Farms to voluntarily test all of the cattle we process for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

As we have discussed in the various meetings held with the USDA over the past several weeks, BSE testing of our cattle is something our export customers and consumers are asking for, and we feel we should be able to provide it to them.

Creekstone Farms will challenge the USDA's decision, and are currently analyzing our legal options. We are challenging USDA's authority to control the sales of BSE diagnostic tests in the United States and your decision to prohibit companies like Creekstone Farms from conducting 100 pecent testing of young animals that would meet our customers' needs and requirements. We are hopeful there will be a resolution to the current U.S. beef trade embargo with Japan.

It is imperative to companies such as ours that trade be resumed. However, we understand the position of our Japanese customers, consumers and their government, as well as the challenges their staunch positions represent. They are requesting 100 percent testing of all beef bound for their market as the precursor to the resumption of trade.

The USDA's current plan to test only older U.S. cattle for BSE will not meet this requirement.

On Monday, Japanese Vice Agriculture Minister Mamoru Ishihara announced that the "U.S. government's decision not to accept [Creekstone's] offer is, frankly speaking, regrettable."

Creesktone Farms has received a tremendous amount of support during the past few weeks for our proposal to test all of our cattle for BSE. We will continue to work with our senators and congressmen, as well as industry experts, to help find a solution to this recent USDA decision.

Please understand our situation as well as our consternation over why the USDA will not embrace our plan. Creekstone Farms plans to test more cattle than the USDA, at a lower cost. If our plan were to be implemented, we would test over 300,000 head of cattle over the course of a year, versus the USDA proposed cattle population of approximately 220,000 head.

As well, the USDA is planning on spending a minimum of $72 million of taxpayer money to conduct these tests. The Creekstone Farms' plan will cost less than $6 million using the identical test kit, and our customers are willing to pay for the cost of the testing.

We ask that the USDA reverse its decision of last week and allow Creekstone Farms to test our beef for BSE.

In addition, Creekstone Farms is asking for USDA approval of the following secondary options:

1) Expand the USDA's surveillance program to involve 1 million head of young animals.
2) Approve the procedure whereby Creekstone Farms is allowed to ship brain stem samples to Japan for BSE testing in their laboratories.
3) Approve Kansas State University as an official USDA laboratory with direction to establish Creekstone Farms as a satellite laboratory.
4) Approve the purchase of young Canadian cattle that would be BSE tested at our processing plant in Arkansas City, Kansas.
5) Approve labeling domestic product BSE tested due to increased consumer concern in the U.S.

This letter is also giving notice to the USDA that our loss in revenue is a minimum of $200,000 per day. We will continue to track this loss on a daily basis to determine damages.

Additionally, we have nine important questions that we would appreciate having USDA address and respond to immediately.

Please be advised we will be sharing this with the media.

Sincerely, John D. StewartC.E.O. Bill FieldingC.O.O. Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, LLC


1. What legal grounds (policies/regulations) would prohibit a private industry from performing a Rapid Test method for BSE? If testing young cattle is not a food safety issue, does it fall under APHIS or FDA?
2. Why does the Federal Register prohibit saving of small intestine unless the animal is BSE tested?
3. You have stated that BSE does not occur in cattle under 30 months of age. Why have you prohibited all specified risk materials (SRMS) from all age groups of cattle processed? What is the science behind this decision?
4. How does USDA certify and approve domestic and international sales/production of natural or organic beef products? This would be an implied Consumer Safety Aspect that is not scientifically warranted. You have stated that BSE testing is an "Implied Food Safety Aspect that is not scientifically justified". How does this differ from natural or organic products? If testing is approved, why can't a label state "BSE tested"?
5. How can the USDA justify spending $72,000,000 in taxpayer funds to test 221,000 head of cattle in 12 months ($325/head), when a private company will use the same test method as APHIS to test 300,000 head for $5,400,000 paid for by consumers in 12 months ($18/head)? Also, this private company can fully implement testing in one week, why will it take APHIS five months to fully implement their program? Complete preparation and training took Creekstone Farms one month.
6. Why is the USDA not immediately allowing Canadian cattle under 30 months of age to be sold into the US? If there is any concern, could Creekstone test Canadian cattle?
7. Given the USDA position that BSE testing is not scientifically justified what exactly are the statistical odds and how do you rationalize not giving the people a choice? There have been young cattle (under 30 months) in Japan and England testing positive for BSE.
8. What will be the government's position if a major domestic customer requires packers to do something BSE-related that is not scientifically justified? Will the packer be told he cannot do it?
9. What is the statistical rate of error determining cattle age using dentition?

Shae Dodson
Dodson Ag News Service
P.O. Box 82
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
Phone: 970-867-1834
Fax: 970-867-1237

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Congressman asks investigation into Forest Service


U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is asking for a federal investigation into U.S. Forest Service actions during a roundup of cattle grazing illegally on an allotment in the Gila National Forest.

The New Mexico Republican, in a letter dated March 31 to U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector General Phyllis K. Fong, said there had been allegations of misconduct and harassment by the Forest Service and the private contractor rounding up the cattle belonging to rancher Kit Laney and his ex-wife, Sherry Farr.

He asked Fong to investigate an allegation that the contractor also rounded up 14 horses from private land that wranglers did not have permission to enter.

"This allegation is troubling enough in its own right, but the fact there have been numerous other complaints, including harassment of Laney relatives and other ranchers, questionable or illegal road closures and requirement of permits for people to enter private property adds to the perception that a concerted effort is being made to drive law-abiding New Mexicans from their homes and livelihoods," Pearce wrote.

The Forest Service announced the capture of the horses last month, saying they were on national forest land. Gila spokeswoman Andrea Martinez repeated Tuesday that the horses were found on forest property, and said they had been there for some time.

Pearce also requested a complete accounting of the cost of the roundup "and the necessity of every item charged to the roundup."

He suggested the inspector general talk not only with Forest Service personnel, but also with Catron County commissioners, area law enforcement personnel, ranchers and business owners.

Laney and Farr did not hold permits for the Diamond Bar allotment where the cattle were grazing.

The couple, who own nearby private land, contended they had grazing rights based on historical use of the land. However, courts rejected that argument numerous times since the mid-1990s. The most recent ruling came in December, when a federal judge ordered the cattle removed.

The Forest Service said in a news release Tuesday that it had rounded up and sold 414 head of cattle on the allotment and had rounded up and subsequently released the 14 horses found on the allotment several miles from private land.

Ten horses belonged to Laney and Farr and were released Tuesday to Farr; the other four - including one belonging to Catron County Sheriff Cliff Snyder - were released to their owners April 5, the agency said.

The cattle were sold for about $211,000, the Forest Service said. The agency has said that will help pay the cost of the roundup.

Forest officials said there were a few head of cattle still to be rounded up.

Gila Supervisor Marcia Andre said she has asked district rangers to meet with everyone who holds grazing permits on the forest within the next few weeks.

"Grazing is and will continue as a valid and appropriate use of national forest lands," Andre said. "It's important to me that we reaffirm our relationship with our permittees, ask for their advice on how we can mutually enhance our working relationships and communications, and deal effectively with issues at the local level."

Laney was arrested March 14 on accusations of charging his horse at Forest Service officers and trying to tear down a corral holding some of his cattle. He was released April 8, but ordered to stay clear of the Diamond Bar Ranch in the Gila.

Laney has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, assaulting and interfering with federal officers and employees and interfering with a court order.

A Decade of Compromise: Timber towns struggle under forest plan The town's sawmill, which once employed more than 200 people, shut down in 1998. The U.S. Forest Service consolidated its Packwood Ranger District around the time the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in 1994, and has steadily reduced its work force in east Lewis County. Recently, the Bush administration adopted changes designed to boost logging. Packwood resident Squires is not pleased with either political party. "It seems to me that both parties like the fact that there's conflict, that they can energize their base," he said. "We're very frustrated to be in the middle. Bush and the Republicans promised that things were going to get better, and I think his record's clear that they haven't gotten better. "I'm kind of tired of being a ball being bounced back and forth, and in the meantime all these communities in the West are dying.".... Bison protester removed from perch, arrested A protester who spent the last week perched 45 feet over a bison trap north of West Yellowstone has been removed and arrested, according to Ted Fellman, spokesman for the protest group, Buffalo Field Campaign. Akiva Silver hoisted himself into the monopod seven days ago, using a mechanism that was tied to the outer walls and gates of the bison trap operated by the Montana Department of Livestock on national forest land. He also suspended a banner reading "Bison Trap Closed to Protect Wildlife." Fellman said a Gallatin County sheriff's deputy and a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement agent used a cherry picker to remove Silver, who turns 25 today. They did their work about 2 p.m. Tuesday.... Wildlife service reissues habitat plan for red-legged frog For the second time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to designate 4.1 million acres as critical habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog, the frog believed to have inspired Mark Twain's fabled short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." If it sticks this time, it would be the largest such designation in California and one of the largest in the nation. The proposal encompasses parts of 28 of the state's 58 counties, from Tehama and Plumas counties in the north to the Mexican border. The service's first designation was overturned by a federal judge in November 2002, who rejected it for procedural flaws. He ordered a new analysis of the economic impact that opponents led by land developers said would be substantial.... Dunes closures could cost millions The public land wars that have dogged the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area have broken down along familiar lines again, prompted by a new federal study citing the economic impact of closing areas of the popular Valley recreation site. "I think they are off-base with this thing," said Phoenix resident Greg Gorman, president of the American Sand Association, an off-road advocacy organization. "The scope is limited and not taking into account the money spent from Phoenix to San Diego to Los Angeles on bikes, quads, buggies and equipment. There's a lot not in this.".... FWS director overrules his own scientific panel In deciding the first appeal brought under the Data Quality Act, the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reversed findings by a scientific panel he convened, leaving in place a ruling that allows hunters to shoot rare trumpeter swans. Enacted in 2000, the Data Quality Act requires federal agencies to use only information meeting the highest standards of "quality, objectivity, utility and integrity." In a letter dated March 26, 2004, FWS Director Steve Williams rejected a complaint filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) that the Service illegally relied on false information when it denied trumpeter swans legal protection last year.... Colorado governments oppose opening former N-site to public At least three local governments are opposing federal plans to open the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site to widespread recreational use. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service favors public access once the 6,200-acre site is cleaned of most radioactive contaminants and transformed into a wildlife refuge. Boulder's City Council last week called for a cautious approach, an option that would make ecological restoration the top priority at Rocky Flats for 15 years while allowing limited public access.... Tribal elders recommend they be allowed to monitor bison Tribal elders on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation are recommending that an elders committee be formed to monitor the tribe's bison. Meanwhile, a special Tribal Council meeting has been scheduled later this month to discuss allegations that some of the tribe's 650 buffalo are malnourished or mistreated.... Groups Unite Behind Plan to Protect Idaho Wilderness Groups Unite Behind Plan to Protect Idaho Wilderness An unusual coalition of cattlemen, environmentalists and enthusiasts of off-road vehicles, who often clash bitterly over land issues, came together yesterday to announce an agreement that could result in the largest addition in a decade to the nation's wild and scenic river system. The proposed designation of 511,000 acres of wilderness, including 40,000 acres that would be off-limits to cattle -- marks the first time in nearly a quarter-century that Idaho residents have proposed a new wilderness designation.... Fishing Groups Take Part In Meeting With The President American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman took part in a gathering with President Bush at his Crawford ranch last week along with the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Coastal Conservation Association, and more than a dozen other sportsmen’s organizations. "The President discussed several different topics with us, ranging from the upcoming Ocean Commission report and national forest initiatives to striped bass and redfish recovery and wetlands conservation," said Nussman. " Organizations attending included the Boone and Crockett Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Rifle Association of America, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club International, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.... Column, John McCain: Environmental Activist? Without question, environmental issues -- some say environmental "extremism" -- is definitely the domain of liberals and Democrats. But now, a noted Republican, known as a maverick at heart, says he's throwing his weight behind the so-called "global warming" movement. His name is John McCain, and he says he'll attack the issue as strenuously as he fought money in politics.... Colorado River tops 2004 list of endangered rivers Rocket fuel, human waste and uranium tailings make the Colorado River the nation's most threatened river, the conservation group American Rivers said Tuesday. The river wanders 1,500 miles from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, snaking across Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California before flowing into the Gulf of Baja in Mexico, although in most years it is little more than a trickle when it reaches its delta. It provides drinking water for 25 million Americans.... Plan to pipe water to Vegas spurs White Pine County recall drive Opponents of a plan to pipe groundwater from rural White Pine County to Las Vegas have launched a recall drive against two county commissioners and the district attorney. Jo Anne Garrett, who heads the recall effort with two other county residents, said Commissioners David Provost and Jack Norcross and District Attorney Richard Sears are too eager to negotiate with the Southern Nevada Water Authority to end a 15-year fight over groundwater rights.... Dead wolverine stirs curiosity in Kemmerer A midnight call led to the discovery of a rare but dead wolverine last month on Highway 30 near Kemmerer, Game and Fish Department officials say. Game and Fish Green River Public Information Specialist Lucy Wold said wolverines are rare in Wyoming and the discovery of the animal caused quite a stir in Kemmerer and surrounding towns.... Legal action against USDA threatened A livestock group says it will sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture if the country's borders are opened to Canadian cattle and beef. The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, or R-CALF, announced its lawsuit plans Tuesday afternoon. Right now, the United States does not allow live Canadian cattle or most beef across the border. USDA is deciding whether to lax those standards. They were put in place last May after a Canadian cow was found to have mad cow disease. Leo McDonnell is president of R-CALF. "We are disappointed the USDA may abandon the science-based animal health regulations that serve as the primary firewall to protecting the United States from (mad cow disease). We're prepared to go to court to protect the safety of American consumers and our industry," he said in a press release.... Peterson bill would tweak ban on downer cattle U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson has joined with the beef industry in Minnesota and across the nation to push back the federal ban on lame cattle that was put into effect in December to protect humans from mad-cow disease. The main platform for easing the government's new restrictions is a bill co-sponsored by Peterson, D-Minn., that would exclude from the ban animals, called "downers" that suffered broken legs and other ailments unrelated to the disease. Peterson and his supporters say the current ban is costing farmers untold millions of dollars while doing nothing to protect consumers.... Feed regulations not yet enforced As fears of mad cow disease rippled across the country three months ago, the nation's top health official announced stringent rules that would prohibit farmers from giving cows potentially high-risk feed, saying Americans must "never be satisfied with the status quo." But, in fact, the status quo remains. Despite the urgent tone of that January announcement, the proposed rules have yet to go into effect, and farmers can use the risky feed with impunity. Instead, a series of bureaucratic complications and scientific questions -- prompted by complaints from industry groups and outside safety specialists -- arose within the US Food and Drug Administration. Review committees were formed and continue work to this day on issues such as how to dispose of the prohibited feed.... Convicted cattle broker asks bankruptcy court to treat creditors equally A cattle broker who admitted bilking people in four states of $166 million has asked a federal bankruptcy court to treat those investors the same way it treats banks that lent him money when it distributes the money he and his businesses still have. In bankruptcy cases, investors normally rank behind creditors that make collateralized loans, such as large banks. But in some recent bankruptcies that followed alleged wrongdoing by company officials, such as the Enron Corp. bankruptcy, courts have classified financial institutions as unsecured creditors - the same rank given to investors.... Bucking Horse film to air Ranching life in Eastern Montana, contemporary cowboy culture and the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale will be explored on Thursday in a film on MontanaPBS. "The Last Stronghold - The Miles City Bucking Horse Sale," was produced by Montana filmmakers Jon Dodson and Ian Kellett. The film offers a glimpse into the world of rodeo and bronc busting in the context of Montana's frontier history and a lifestyle that continues to define the American West.... PBR brass, cowboys stay on same page in growth plan Cowboys rarely agree on anything. Rodeo is a sport that breeds individualism. There are no teammates to fall back on, nobody to rescue the cowboy after a bad day. Those who compete for a living are solely dependent on themselves for producing the paycheck. This year, the Professional Bull Riders enters it second decade of operation, now a multimillion-dollar industry. That statement, by itself, is amazing.... U.S. cowboys to take talents to China Bucking bulls and rodeos has not only taken America by storm, it is now invading China. Bull breeders Glen McIlvain from Canton and Norm Caja from Stephenville will be taking the Chinese exactly what they asked for -- "a flavor of rodeo." "We will kill about an hour a day. We'll have trick roping and riding, bull riding and bucking horses," McIlvain said. Twenty-five cowboys from the United States will make the journey to China. The first show will be April 28, with a show every day for six months. There will two shows on the weekends and McIlvain said another show will be scheduled during the week if need be....

Bush accord could revive timber wars Recent Bush administration changes to a management plan for the national forests of the Pacific Northwest threaten to rekindle the timber wars of the 1990s by doubling the timber harvest on federal lands in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. To settle a lawsuit by timber companies, the administration agreed to an amendment to the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, which covers 24 million acres in 19 national forests and six U.S. Bureau of Land Management districts. California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Klamath National Forest are covered by the plan, which marks its 10-year anniversary Tuesday. The plan's changes are engendering discord similar to that which marked the U.S. Forest Service's recent unveiling of its "Forests With A Future" campaign, which will increase the timber cut in the Sierra Nevada as a means of reducing wildfire hazard.... Environmental Group Says Wildlife Managers Deceived Public But the recent capture bothers at least one environmental group: Earth First. The group says when Game and Fish and the Forest Service announced they were scaling back the mountain lion search two weeks ago, they gave the impression that no mountain lions would be captured. “There may be some clever language that they used in there, but it doesn’t change the fact that, fundamentally this was a deception,” said Lenny Molina with Earth First.... WWF: Raise 'Pennies for the Planet' on Earth Day Got some spare change for wildlife? Working with WWF's "Pennies for the Planet" campaign is the perfect activity for Earth Day (April 22). Hundreds of kids have already participated in the campaign this year, raising $15,000 in the past 5 months alone, while learning about wildlife and wild places. "Participating in 'Pennies' is a great way for kids to do something meaningful and fun for Earth Day," said Judy Braus, World Wildlife Fund's education director. "The bottom line is that kids can help the Earth, whether they are restoring their local environment, or collecting pennies for on-the-ground conservation in priority areas around the world.".... Wolf meetings scheduled to explain new rules Federal officials will appear here and in Butte this week to explain a proposed loosening of protections on wolves, Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., announced Monday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March announced a proposal that would hand some wolf management responsibility to state government. The proposal also would give ranchers and wildlife managers more freedom to kill wolves that cause problems. "The big thing is to get the feds out and the state in," said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery leader for FWS in Montana.... Feds To Pay For Seizing Apache Indian's Eagle Feathers U.S. Interior Department has been ordered to pay $48,818 to a Silver City man for his legal costs in a battle over eagle feathers. U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo ordered the agency to pay Joseluis Saenz, a Chiricahua Apache whose eagle feathers were seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1996. He uses the feathers in religious ceremonies.... Lawsuit planned to protect wildlife Environmentalists yesterday took their first legal step to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to extend protections of the Endangered Species Act to a bird, three butterflies and eight kinds of pocket gophers found in the Puget Sound region. The Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity and other groups said the government had found the species warranted protection, but were precluded from it by the Fish and Wildlife Service's workload. The agency has said much of its work stems from suits filed by environmentalists. The conservationists argue that the service has not requested additional money from Congress to carry out its responsibilities.... Reported Cougar Sightings Keep Kids Away from a PA Playground School officials in this Bradford County community are keeping pupils away from a playground because of multiple reports of a mountain lion sighting. Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said Friday that wildlife officers in the area were investigating the claim. "At least three credible people saw the mountain lion," Canton schools superintendent Robert Jannone said Thursday. School officials said two people have reported seeing a mountain lion within 100 yards of Canton Elementary School, which has a playground surrounded by a chain-link fence.... MSU researcher recommends bolder response to mountain lions People who encounter mountain lions should respond more aggressively than previously thought, according to a Montana State University-Bozeman researcher. Marc Kenyon has studied hundreds of mountain lion attacks in the Western Hemisphere. His findings indicate that people should charge mountain lions instead of merely standing their ground. They should make loud, continuous noises rather than firing their guns once or twice. "The data supports it well, and we feel confident saying that," Kenyon said.... Wildlife, humans clash on America's urban frontier Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play, eat shrubs, cause traffic jams, and give birth on your front lawn. Whether it is deer in Montana, black bears in New Jersey, mountain lions in California, or bison in Wyoming, wildlife is becoming accustomed to city life, sometimes with tragic results. In Helena, Montana, up to 500 mule deer live within the city limits, and their number is growing.... Cell phone chatterers alter National Park landscape Cell phones have long been virtually unavoidable on city streets and in shopping malls. But they now are showing up in some of the very places people go to get away from it all: national parks. For park managers, this is a challenge. Officials with the National Park Service say they want to meet the needs of visitors and provide for their safety. But they also must protect the park and the visitor experience. And there is no set policy on how to strike this balance.... Dust bowl dry Drought conditions described as being worse than the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930s have forced Lake Powell to its lowest level in more than 30 years. At the end of last week, the lake's water level was 117 feet below its fill line or at just 42 percent of capacity. Its surface elevation of 3,383 feet above sea level is the lowest it's been since 1970 when the gigantic reservoir, completed in 1966, was still filling.... Timber turnaround The timber sale, dubbed Flea Flicker, began less than a year after a vehicle's hot catalytic converter started a fire last summer that burned more than 80 acres of land managed by the Roseburg Bureau of Land Management. The salvage sale was sold to Scott Timber Co. in February of this year and will yield about half a million board feet. That's the kind of immediate action many in the community would like to see after fires.... Timber Town of Powers, Ore., Sees Its Economy Dwindling Away In the flush days two decades past, log trucks heavy with old growth rolled through town as if on a conveyor belt. Powers, a plucky community in the coastal mountains of Southwestern Oregon, had overcome the closure of its mill and railway spur back in the early 1970s. Just about anyone willing to work had a job. Powers was alive -- and by some measure thriving -- by the grace of timber from the Siskiyou National Forest. The town had a movie house and a roller skating rink, four gas stations and five saloons. A lone police officer restored peace when loggers spilled into the streets for a fight. The bustle is gone now. Enactment of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994 left logging in the Siskiyou a shadow of the past. Ten years later, many here remain angry.... Teen gets prison sentence for environmental sabotage Decrying environmental sabotage as “extremely troubling” and “arrogant,” a federal judge Monday sentenced a member of the radical Earth Liberation Front to 42 months in prison for a 2002 vandalism spree in greater Richmond that damaged new homes, SUVs, construction equipment and fast-food restaurants. Aaron Labe Linas , 19 , apologized in court for the property attacks – called “direct actions” by ELF, an underground environmental group considered a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI – and said he accepted his punishment. Linas is the first of three former students at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County to be sentenced for conspiring to cause more than $200,000 in damage to vehicles and structures that ELF views as contributing to greed and environmental ruin. It is the first time in Virginia that such a case has come to trial.... Klamath River could fare better this year This year's water picture on the Klamath River appears to be a bit brighter than in other recent years when farms lost irrigation water and salmon went belly up. Farms in the Upper Klamath Basin will receive full deliveries of water, provided extremely hot or very wet conditions don't set in, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. And water being purchased from farmers by the federal government should improve the lot for salmon downstream. The operations plan was released at a Klamath Water Users Association meeting this week. Reclamation is buying some 75,000 acre feet of water -- 24 billion gallons -- from farms in the upper basin for about $4.2 million. That water bank will bolster flows from Iron Gate Dam to the lower Klamath River, flows that might otherwise mimic conditions in the fall of 2002, when 34,000 salmon died in the hot, shallow river.... County attorney mulls DCI wolf report A decision is expected this week on whether Park County will pursue charges against a federal agency in connection with the release of wolves near Meeteetse in February. Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric said the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) looked into the incident involving rancher Randy Kruger, who alleges four tranquilized wolves were illegally released on Larsen Ranch Co. land south of Meeteetse on Feb. 14. Skoric said DCI Special Agent Steve Herrmann of Powell spent more than two weeks investigating the allegations. Herrmann met with Skoric on Thursday to report his findings.... Cheney:Experts to Discuss Beef with Japan Vice President Dick Cheney said on Tuesday the Japanese government had invited U.S. experts to Tokyo next week to discuss Japan's ban on U.S. beef imports and he hoped this would lead to a resumption in beef trade. Japan stopped importing U.S. beef in late December after the United States reported a case of mad cow disease -- formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- in Washington state.... It's All Trew: Marbles, jacks, tops were cool in their day Does anyone remember standing at the candy counter in a local store, trying to decide on which "penny candy" to spend your money? Forget about larger denomination coins, candy bars and sacks of candy. Think pennies, jaw-breakers either red or green, hoar hound drops, licorice sticks and salt-water taffy. Hard rock candy lasted longer but that marshmallow peanut or banana looked mighty tempting. For many, this was the first real-life lesson in decision making.... West Side cowboy honored for true grit It's never been about roping or wrestling a steer. It's never been about busting out of the chute and riding a bucking beast until the roar of the crowd drowned out the blare of the eight-second horn. Oh sure, Phil Stadtler did all of those things over the course of his 84 years. But he chose a much grander arena than Oakdale's Saddle Club grounds or San Francisco's famed Cow Palace. Stadtler's arena was bigger than the American West itself. It stretched deep into Mexico, and east all the way to Florida, where he often ventured to buy cattle....